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From SAP Business Suite on HANA to BOBJ 4.1: SearchSAP reviews 2013

From questions about SAP Business Suite on HANA, to perceptions that BW and HANA are merging, here are the most-read SearchSAP stories of 2013.

The last 12 months brought a lot of changes for SAP and its customers, from Jim Hagemann Snabe's decision to step down as co-CEO, to the general availability of SAP Business Suite on HANA, to the further evolution of HANA. SearchSAP went back and rounded up our 10 most-read stories of 2013, including news, tips, columns and features. Here they are, in reverse order:

10. News that SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe to step down draws varied reactions

News in July that SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe would step down from the post drew a range of reactions from customers and analysts, including those who wondered if the company might becoming too sales driven, and those who considered the news just another day in the life of a multinational IT vendor.

9. Achieve greater efficiency with SAP Document Management

Over the year, SearchSAP ERP expert Jawad Akhtar wrote numerous tips on how companies can better manage their manufacturing and supply-chain ERP processes. This tip, on SAP Document Management, proved to be the most popular.

8. Tools for integrating SAP and third-party software on the rise

While integrating SAP and non-SAP software may still be a challenge, the number of middleware software options is growing, giving companies new avenues to choose from. Of course, sometimes more middleware options mean more confusion.

7. Will customers want to run their SAP Business Suite on HANA?

In January, SAP made the long-awaited announcement that SAP customers could begin running its Business Suite software on the SAP HANA in-memory database platform.

"There are many companies that have been waiting for years that we could provide something like this. These companies will be on a winning path," SAP co-founder and chairman of the board Hasso Plattner said at the time.

Read this article, which includes analysis from skeptical SAP experts and watchers alike, to find out whether SAP customers will truly buy into the proposition that their future IT strategy requires running their transactional processes on SAP HANA.

In related news, SAP also announced the HANA Enterprise Cloud in May.

6. The debut of SAP BusinessObjects 4.1

In September, SAP announced the general availability of the SAP BusinessObjects 4.1 business intelligence suite. The new software includes tighter integration with SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and support for new data sources, according to SAP. It was also widely perceived as containing a number of fixes for flaws customers encountered in SAP BusinessObjects 4.0.

5. Advice for establishing a Business Blueprint for SAP Solution Manager

Part of a series on deploying SAP Solution Manager written by expert Tony DeThomasis, this piece looks at creating a Business Blueprint structure and taking advantage of the Business Process Repository.

4. SAP announces new partnership with geospatial data vendor

In July, SAP announced a new partnership with Esri, a geographic information system (GIS) and location analytics provider. SAP said the move was intended to provide richer, more detailed GIS data for its SAP HANA, BusinessObjects and Business Suite applications. In related news, SAP purchased Swiss omni-channel software vendor hybris to complement its existing CRM portfolio. SAP also acquired predictive analytics vendor KXEN.

3. Integration between SAP Data Services and SAP BW growing closer

How much do you know about SAP Data Services? In this article that debuted in June, expert Ethan Jewett takes a close look at SAP Data Services 4.0 and how it relates to SAP BW and other applications.

"The combination of Data Services with traditional SAP products like BW could be a powerful solution for many, though there are still a couple of pitfalls to be aware of," Jewett writes.

2. Getting the most out of SAP HANA through better data modeling

SAP HANA, SAP's in-memory database platform, gives companies the ability to reach new levels of data modeling beyond what's possible with traditional database management systems, or DBMSes. But to make that happen, businesses need to handle the data in more sophisticated ways, writes expert Don Loden.

1. The gradual blurring of SAP BW and SAP HANA

SAP expert Jewett explains that although SAP contends that HANA won't replace SAP BW, the two will likely merge over time. Once that begins, he writes, many of the questions surrounding skill and technology decisions will begin to answer themselves.

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